So, my buddies Scott and Andy are going through games left and right. Scott trucks through Gamefly and Andy, well, torrents, real fast. The games come out faster than my ADD will let me pay attention. I tend to let certain things come in and never play them, start a lot of games and never finish them. However, there are certain games that come back again and again, that I seem to always want to play again. Despite the Infamous 2s and Assassins Creed 9s, I still kill my precious down time playing certain games. Now this list is mine, but everyone has their own and all of mine have a deal of age on them.
1. PC – Theme Hospital (1997)
For a long time, this game was my addiction. In the 1990s, I subscribed to one PC magazine or another; one of those magazines with disks of demos on it. A game I tried an loved was Theme Hospital. It then took me another three years to find it in a store. Theme Hospital is a simulation design game, like Theme Park, Roller Coaster Tycoon, etc. Theme Hospital is filled with ridiculous diseases (like bloaty head wherein your doctors burst the heads with a needle then reflate them with a bike pump). You expand research, buy equipment, hire and fire doctors, nurses, and janitors. The game is amazing, funny, and immersive in absurdity.
2. PC – Age of Empires 2 (2001)
Possibly the top of the Real time strategy (RTS) echelons, the Age of Empire Games are amazing. Many argue that Star Craft is the most balanced RTS by far, but as a history person I love the age of empires games. There is many more variables, an incredible attention to detail, and amazing game play; to the point that it was reintroduced to me by the current senior class at my school who are all playing it over the network.
3. PC – Grim Fandango (1998)
This is your standard point and click adventure game, which, as Yahtzee would say, means you take a magical McGuffin and rub it against all possible things until it works, or, in my case, give up and check the interwebs. I love this game for a lot of reasons. It is amazingly complex. The story line is intriguing and funny. The characters are likeable and the story is original. It proved that LucasArts could make something other than Star Wars knockoffs. You have to play this.
4. Nintendo 64, Wii, Nintendo DS – Super Mario Brothers 64 (1996)
This was the first game I purchased new. I had bought used games before, but this was different. I remember the first time I turned on the game and played with Mario’s stretchy face. “Itsa me, Mario!” I remember this being the first time I really say 3D. I remember running in all directions and trying to establish cameras. In every way, this game was amazing.
5. Nintendo 64, Wii – Super Mario Kart 64 (1996)
I must have four or five versions of Mario Kart. However, when the buddies come over this is the only game they want to play. From the debate over lightweights like toad vs heavyweights, to the challenge of the race, to the melodic annoyance of the Rainbow Road music that haunts dreams. This game is a class.
Honorable mention – Nintendo 64 – Goldeneye (1997)
Ok, this one is a given, but impossible to play anymore; I no longer have an N64. In the pantheon of revolutionary games, Goldeneye is near the top of the list. I know that most people credit Wolfenstein 3d as the first First Person Shooter (FPS) and that the doom games were the first multiplayer FPSs, but connecting over IP in the early nineties was the biggest pain in the ass possible. Goldeneye not only revolutionized multiplayer, it developed mission based combat, speed based challenges, unlock able cheats, and incredible story line. I know at the moment there is issue with rerelease because it was made by Rare, which is now owned by Microsoft. However, I hope a license can be worked out, the game was amazing.